A meta-analysis of turnover intention predictors among U.S. child welfare workers

Source: Hyosu Kima, Dennis Kaob, Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 47 Part 3, December 2014
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• Meta-analysis assessed predictors of turnover intention among child welfare workers.
• Turnover intention was measured by either the intention to leave or remain employed.
• Child welfare worker attitude and perceptions were the strongest predictors.
• Contrary to public perception, caseload did not influence turnover intention.
• Performance and economy-related factors need more attention.

From the abstract:
The severity and prevalence of turnover among child welfare workers have resulted in increased attention and research—particularly in the past decade. While the literature, in its current state, has improved our broad knowledge of the phenomenon, our understanding is still based on—and consequently limited by—a dispersed collection of studies varying in terms of methodology and often reflecting inconsistent findings. To address this research gap, we conducted a meta-analysis of the existing literature on the turnover intentions of public child welfare workers in the United States. Turnover intention was measured by various measures of either the intention to leave or the intention to remain employed. Twenty-two studies were included in the final analyses involving the assessment of the effect sizes for thirty-six predictors, broadly classified into demographic, work-related, work environment, and attitudes/perceptions categories. Our findings showed that the attitudes and perceptions of child welfare workers (e.g., organizational commitment and job satisfaction) had the highest influence on their turnover intention. In contrast, demographic predictors (e.g., such as age, race, and gender) showed small or negligible effects on turnover intention. Among work-related predictors, stress and burnout had medium to high influence on turnover intention while worker inclusion and autonomy showed medium effect sizes. Work environment indicators, such as different types of support (e.g., organizational, supervisor, co-worker, and spousal), had varying influence on turnover intention while a worker’s perceptions of fairness and policy had relatively high effect sizes. Based on these findings, the research and practice implications are discussed.